The Diaries: Going for Broke, a Beer by a Salt Lake
Time has passed. A month now. I have no notes for the leg from Denver to Idaho, through Salt Lake City. My musings feel dry. Was it the trip itself, or is it something I missed? The arc. I know the arc. But is it coming together? Does it have to? Are things ever meant to really all come together? What share is fiction? A share, undeniably.
Putting life into words – or into picture – is itself an act of fictionalization.
The people. It’s still about the people. Their stories. Where are their stories? That’s what I seem to be missing for this leg. And us. The trip. What has happened? Where have we descended? Ascended? Is it a deliberate angle, or a selective trick of memory? It’s time that things pick up. They must, or bust. What then?
It’s been about 5,500 miles on the road, part 2 (20k altogether). The odometer got reset when the car ran out of battery at the top of Rocky Mountain park.
An aside: we’ll soon be coming up on the closing chapters of the ooamerica road-trip! (there’s plenty in store for after that…) To all the amazing people who’ve nominated ooamerica for a blog award, a heartfelt thanks! Will be posting about this once the last turns and twists of the adventure are posted.
Colorado’s country roads, through refinery, dirt and sand. Make it to Dinosaur Monument. Eye-catching drive through the southern entrance, but where are the dinosaurs?
The road winds and stretches all the way to a mountain bowl. The park has gotten its name from the numerous dinosaur fossils which have been found or plundered in the area.
We’re the only ones here. Redriks steps on it. The uneven road provides a few thrilling bumps. Let him have some fun. Vigilantly, of course. We fly above the tar.
Backtrack and head westwards, into Utah, to the main entrance. I feel a little ‘shafted’ from what we got to see thus far – will I ever find such contrast and colors as I had near Arizona’s Painted Desert?
I think Redrik, on the other hand, has had his share of rocks.
Gladly bypass the empty entrance booth and park a few miles down, close to a scenic runoff. The sun is slowly edging downwards. A mile away, orange-gilded boulders, a wing-shaped rock.
An appetizing red trail snakes through the golds of the low brush.
“Come on, let’s take a hike. It’s not far.”
But Redrik wishes to stay in the car. Walk out to the butte.
Walk around and behind it. There’s a view of a lake overlooked by a steep mountain, and the rocks give way to a passage to the top.
I feel alive. Yet the feeling comes mixed, tainted by sadness.
Return to the car ruminating. Redrik would like to make it to Salt Lake City tonight. Perhaps a hundred fifty miles, off freeway. I concede.
I’ve got, so to speak, the content needed for Colorado. Up ahead await Utah, Idaho or Wyoming, Yellowstone again, Montana, Glacier Park, Washington and Seattle, Oregon and Portland, the Oregon coast, and then, finally, California.
Save for Yellowstone and California, which I’ve seen during the last trip, I’ve yet to visit these states (especially the northwestern ones) for the purposes of the project.
We’ve both been digging deep into our energy and fortitude reserves, and part of us wants to get it over with. It’s going to be tough to juggle getting the necessary amount of work done with the desire to reach the West coast.
It’s about picking your battles, choosing the right spot.
I race to Salt Lake City through the night – a presumably beautiful two-lane road, though exhausting in the dark. As we near SLC, someone gets pulled over right in front of me near Herberk – thank you.
SLC’s lights shine forth in the valley. We’re amazed at its sprawl.
Park downtown, near Bar-X, and go have a whiskey.
Younger folk with experimental haircuts and piercings down some beers. The music is good. It begins to rain.
“Where we gonna sleep tonight?”
“I’d like to find somewhere sheltered from the rain. Let’s check that church.”
In the end find a wooden porch shielded from street view. It’s someone’s deck, but will have to do. Redrik politely passes.
It’s not even six o’clock when a man on his way to work nearly stumbles into my outstretched body. Open my eyes dazedly. Strangely, the man doesn’t even care to comment. Rushes off to work. Perhaps it’s a regular occurrence.
Roll up the sleeping bag and finish the night in the car.
Redrik has been awake making some phone calls. Catch up on some rest. But when Redrik gets back, he’s got tears to his eyes.
And there’s a resolute, sad intensity in them, as he says:
“I don’t think I can do this anymore.”